First year Psychology student, Zak Morrison appeared as a finalist at the Entrepreneurial Barnet Competition 2019 on Wednesday 3rd April. With the competition entering its sixth year,
Alongside 4 aspiring entrepreneurs, Zak was up for a chance to win £3000 for his innovative business idea. He pitched his start-up Mono-Designs, which sells clothing and bags printed with artwork inspired by pop art, gaming, and Japanese “otaku” culture. Mono-Designs will market itself online and at fan conventions and fairs. Longer-term, Zak hopes to open up a London outlet where customers can design their own T-shirt or hoodie and get it printed at the store on completion.
Zak says he will use data capture and analysis to work out what his potential customers like and what they don't like. "I've been told I have a strong entrepreneurial mind" he says. He has developed digital games and since arriving at MDX he has established a STEM Society open to all students. He and his co-founders (including Ravensbourne University student Carlos Martin, pictured at top alongside Zak) will press on with the business - they have booked a space to sell their products at MCM Comic Con in six weeks' time.
The competition is a joint venture between the university, Barnet and Southgate College and Barnet Council, generously sponsored by Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The finalists made presentations to judges Terry Magennis from Hammerson (co-owner of Brent Cross), Steve Leverton of business finance specialists Cornmill Associates, NatWest Business Inclusion Co-ordinator Sharniya Ferdinand and beauty company MD Vanessa Fernandes, a MDX Master’s graduate. As competition winner, Joanne Merchant will receive mentoring alongside £3,000 to invest in her business. Her business idea consisted of a high street hub called When I Grow Up, providing an appealing play, support and community space for families with young children. "I feel shocked and overwhelmed and really happy" she said after receiving her winners' cheque, which will help pay for the lease she has just signed. In a couple of years' time she hopes to be opening her second hub, she says.
“We are delighted to support the Entrepreneurial Barnet competition for what will be the fifth year in a row. The initiative provides local entrepreneurs and students in our community a fantastic opportunity to kick-start their business.” - Chris Barnes, General Manager of Brent Cross
This is not the first time a Middlesex student has appeared at this competition. In 2017 Master's student Andre Thompson won with Student Light, an App and web platform to connect individual students, student communities and leaders at HE institutions, to empower them to drive change with a particular view to improving mental health.
Barnet Cllr Daniel Thomas, Chair of the Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee, said: “It’s great to see so much entrepreneurial talent in our borough. I would like to congratulate the finalists, and everyone who has taken part in this competition. We are proud to be able to promote and recognise the entrepreneurial spirit of people in Barnet in this way.”